Thailand rejects Cambodia’s conditions to defer Preah Vihear management plan

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PARIS, June 23 – Thailand has refused to accept a draft resolution proposed by Cambodia with conditions that the consideration on the Preah Vihear management plan could be postponed until next year if Thailand allows international observers into the contested area around the temple and restoration of the ancient Hindu temple damaged in recent border clashes, according to the head of Thailand’s delegation to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) meeting.

Thai Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti heading the Thai delegation at the heritage committee’s 35th session at the agency’s Paris headquarters told reporters that a representative of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova gave Cambodia’s draft resolution to Thailand on Wednesday. Cambodia stated in its draft that Thailand fired at Preah Vihear temple and caused damage to the ruins. Thailand refutes the claim.

Thailand resolved that the Cambodia’s conditions were unacceptable after it reviewed details of the draft, according to Mr Suwit.

The Thai team is scheduled to meet the UNESCO director-general’s representative again at 11pm Thursday (Thailand time).

Thailand wants the meeting to defer considering the Cambodian management plan until the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules on its complaint, and not until Thailand and Cambodia finish demarcating the common border.

Ties between the neighbours have been strained since Preah Vihear temple was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

In April, Cambodia asked the court to clarify its1962 ruling on the ancient Hindu temple on its disputed border with Thailand following recent deadly armed clashes between the two neighbouring countries.

The world court, based in The Hague, ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but both Phnom Penh and Bangkok claim ownership of a 4.6-square-kilometre (1.8-square-mile) surrounding area. (MCOT online news)

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